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The commander of Basra Operations, Akram Saddam, revealed that he had received instructions from the federal government to “close” waterways on the Shatt al-Arab with Iran, used for “drug trafficking,” while the total area of the corridors used in that trade was estimated at 100 km.
In the last 10 years, Basra has turned into a main corridor for transporting drugs to the rest of the governorates, and the number of drug addicts has increased to more than 3 thousand individuals, and more than 1000 dealers in detention centers.
Amin Wahb, a member of the (dissolved) Basra Provincial Council, said in contact with (Al-Mada) yesterday that "50 waterways linking Abu Al-Khasib, south of Basra, and Shatt Al-Arab to Iran, are used in the drug trade."
Most of the corridors in which the drug trade takes place under the guise of "fishing", are unattended and there are no security forces or known as river police.
Beach of Argentina!
Saddam, the Basra Operations Commander, said in a statement issued by the leadership that "the directives of the Prime Minister and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces are clear and explicit in this regard to close some water ports inside the Iraqi territories, which extend from Abu Al-Khasib district to Ras Al-Bisha in Al-Faw district."
The statements of the operations commander, who was appointed last July in a campaign of security changes in Basra against the backdrop of the October protests, came during an exploratory tour of the water borders in the Shatt al-Arab waters separating the Iraqi-Iranian border.
The latter’s statement is the first of its kind at an official level accusing Iran of financing the drug trade in Iraq, while former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi responded to such accusations that Argentina (the South American country) “is the one who pays drugs to Iraq. “.
The former Basra police chief, Rashid Falih (dismissed last August), said upon assuming the position in the city in 2018, that “80% of the drugs entering the city came from Iran,” before he retracted his permit for unknown reasons.
And the new operations commander stressed, in the statement, "the need to find an appropriate mechanism to prevent the flow of narcotic substances into Iraqi territory."
Saddam added, "The Ministry of Water Resources will establish bridges or barriers to close these passages, and they will be secured by the Coast Guard Command of the Border Guard Command, the Fourth District, which has made distinguished efforts and has gone a long way in chasing the traffickers of these toxic materials."
Most of the problems that occur in the southern city are covered by the cover of "tribal conflicts," but in reality it is a competition between "militias" and influential people in the drug trade in the province.
Individuals affiliated with political parties or armed groups outside the state often control that trade, in addition to controlling the ports and other economic joints in the city overlooking the sea.
Amin Waheb says, "We talked more than once about the danger of these corridors and how they are used in the drug trade, but there are no real solutions, especially with the presence of corruption."
The large sums generated by this trade allow merchants to obtain large numbers of loyalists in the security services, according to the local official.
He added, "It is not possible to control the drug trade through the waterways, because some of them are 50 meters and 100 meters wide, except by intensifying river boats, ensuring the integrity of the patrols, and deploying cameras on the Shatt al-Arab."
Officials estimate the number of drug addicts in Basra about 4 thousand people, while there are 1100 drug dealers in prisons, and there are other arrest warrants suspended.
A security source in the province told Al-Mada that "there are 100 suspects who are considered the heads of the drug trade. Their arrest warrants are still suspended."
The government has been unable for years to arrest those bodies. The source says that "some influential politicians are interfering in the security and arrests file in the province."
For his part, Mansour Al-Tamimi, a former deputy for Basra, told Al-Mada that "the Shatt al-Arab is open to Iran, and thousands of crude boats carrying drugs enter the city without accountability under the pretext of hunting."
These small boats do not need berths like the ones ships do, while most drug exchange operations take place in the central Shatt al-Arab.
Al-Tamimi stresses that "there are about 100 km on the Shatt al-Arab empty and there is no monitoring," indicating that "many of the security services are infiltrated by drug traffickers."
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